Outside the Box: Farewell card for Vieira as he celebrates earliest kick-off

An alternative to watching England's bowlers toiling in the Cape Town heat on Wednesday morning was to check out a small piece of history when ESPN screened the earliest ever kick-off for a Serie A game: Chievo's 1-0 home defeat by
Internazionale began at 11.30GMT. Arsenal and Manchester City fans would have been particularly interested in the performance of Patrick Vieira, who played a rare 90 minutes, his last for the club. Vieira, now well past his best at 33, marked it (and an opponent) with one particularly late tackle that earned him a farewell yellow card while Mario Balotelli, Inter's temperamental teenage striker, tested the patience of Jose Mourinho with his latest booking, for kicking the ball away; he is now suspended this weekend. It was not the most obvious time of day, or of week, for a league match but Wednesday was a bank holiday in Italy, for Epiphany (one of the country's 12, a whopping 50 per cent more than the United Kingdom enjoys).

Forest fans' heavy metal

Nottingham Forest's annual Christmas eBay auction to raise funds for toys at a local children's hospital raised a commendable £6,000. The most popular single item was a rusty old turnstile from the original terraced Trent End, whose inhabitants used to delight in singing ditties about throwing visiting supporters into the adjacent river. The heavy metal went for £400. Robbie Earnshaw's boots fetched £300, but perhaps he should have them back after his subsequent ghastly penalty kick against Birmingham in the FA Cup had the modern-day Trent Enders diving for cover.

Brazil's World Cup woes

It hardly behoves anyone connected with debt-ridden English football to gloat, but traditional financial problems in South America do not appear to be improving. On the same day last week that leading Argentinian clubs announced increased levels of debt, Brazil's government cut £650million from the budget for the 2014 World Cup. Infrastructure and security in the 12 host cities are expected to bear the brunt. In Argentina, the government played a more positive role after the start of the season had to be delayed because players had not been paid, by buying out the existing television contract from a cable network. That gave the clubs more money and allowed supporters to watch games free, providing a welcome ratings boost for the president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. But do not expect to see Gordon Brown challenging Rupert Murdoch for Premier League rights ahead of the general election.

Peston's Premier perils

Back at home, meanwhile, the BBC's business editor Robert Peston, a lifelong Arsenal fan and late of this parish, has been providing his own gloomy take on football finance. A recent blog suggests (imagine the accent and arm movements): "The finances of the Premier League are probably as perilously poised as the finances of the British government." Oh dear. Unfortunately for Messrs Brown and Darling, it does not appear possible to do the Chelsea and Manchester City trick of making huge loans disappear by converting them into mythical "equity".

s.tongue @independent.co.uk

News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing